Very Bad Things, page 1
Evernight Publishing ®
Copyright© 2014 Sam Crescent & Jenika Snonw
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Editor: Karyn White
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
VERY BAD THINGS
Sam Crescent & Jenika Snow
Copyright © 2014
It was never supposed to be so hard to live life. Fiona Sterling climbed the stairs of her rundown apartment wishing for time to fly by so that she could start to look forward to the summer. Hugging her thick jacket around her, she tried not to think of the layers of snow she’d just walked through. If the snow was outside, her apartment was going to be like an ice block. Heating her small place was harder than she had imagined. Her landlord was a tight ass who refused to spend any more money than was necessary.
Climbing the stairs she tried to do anything to keep the heat locked inside. Stopping by her door, she dug out her keys feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her life had become nothing but mundane. There was a time when she had been surrounded by love, laughter, even joy. Now, she was surrounded by the cold, despair, and the occasional look of pity.
One year ago her entire family had been on a plane heading for the Alps. Her mother, father, two brothers, and a sister were going to watch their parents retake their vows. She had had to stay to finish off her exams at college before she could head out. After booking a ticket for the following day, Fiona wished her family well and promised to see them soon.
She never saw them again. The plane hit unexpected bad weather and was brought down by one of the worst storms in history. No more family, no more happiness, and her life had become dead on the inside and outside. Quitting college, she never went for her final year, and the debts from the funeral ate up whatever inheritance she had. Living life from one day to the next had become her future.
Pushing hair off her face, she grabbed her keys, and opened the door to her place. The apartment was simple. She had a living space, bathroom, one bedroom, and a small kitchen area.
Most days she could get from one end of her apartment to the other in ten steps. Men could probably do it in five, but she was a woman.
Shaking her head, she closed the door, putting on the six locks she’d purchased the moment she rented the place. Buying a place of her own was out of the question. She was lucky she could afford to rent.
Fiona kept her coat on as she walked to her small fridge, pulling out a can of soda and taking a seat on the single chair in the room. She didn’t own a television or a computer. A couple of books and a library card were all she needed to keep her occupied when she wasn’t working.
She didn’t even open her can of soda before the moans and banging could be heard on either side of her. The feminine groans and masculine growls made her roll her eyes. There was no way sex was always that good. The couple of men she’d been with had been all about the grunting and groaning but failed at everything else. The first time she’d had sex, she accepted the fact it was going to suck. It always did for a woman. The second, third, fourth, and fifth time, it should have been better. Sex for her, it sucked. Was it her or the men she was with? She didn’t know.
Staring down at her soda, she chuckled. She was sitting in her freezing cold apartment with her coat still on and yet she was going to drink a cold soda. Her drink wasn’t going to help to keep her warmed up. Standing up, she placed the can in the fridge and filled the small kettle she owned. Putting a large spoonful of cheap coffee inside, she grabbed the sugar canister only to discover it was empty.
Pressing her head to the cupboard, she moaned.
Come on, life, give me a break.
Rubbing at her eyes, listening to the couples on either side of her having mind-blowing sex, she wanted to cry. Instead, she opened her door and closed it softly behind her. Walking across the hall, she knocked on Jake’s door. The guy who lived opposite her she was sure was a drug dealer. He was covered in ink, pale, and she saw the track marks that covered his arms. All of that aside, he never had a problem letting her have sugar, coffee, or even some bread if she needed it.
Jake opened seconds later. He looked sick, pale, and he was sweating.
“Are you okay?” she asked, taking a step back.
“Sure, sugar. What can I do for you?” He looked down the hall then at her before looking the other way.
“Is this a bad time? I can come another time.” She held her jar in her hand, feeling like she interrupted something even scarier.
“No, it’s fine.” He ran a shaking hand down his face. “I’m just losing my mind.”
Blood trailed down his arms from the needle marks. He must have been shaking when he injected.
“No, really, it’s fine,” Fiona said. She went to take a step back, but he grabbed her arm. He was surprisingly strong for an addict. In the last couple of weeks she’d noticed he looked thinner, more out of it, than ever before.
“Come on, Fiona. I can help you out. What do you need?”
Before she knew what was happening, she was dragged into his apartment with the door closed, locked even.
“Erm, I was wondering if I could borrow some sugar.” She held up her empty jar, giving it a shake.
“Sure. I’ve got some here somewhere.” He released her arm, and she watched him walking away.
She didn’t look around his apartment. He rarely let her inside, and she wasn’t interested in seeing what was on display.
“When are you going to go back to college and finish that final year?” he asked.
Fiona heard him rummaging around in stuff. She never came into his apartment, but Jake had visited her place. He was the first person she’d told about her parents and what happened to her family. Without knowing him long, she’d pretty much told him her life story. She should have learned to keep her mouth shut. Jake thought she needed to stop living in the past and start living in the now.
He kept telling her to go back to school and finish her studies so she could start her career. The stigma with drugs always made her think people who took them had a death wish and only wanted to bring others down around them. Jake knocked down all of her stereotypes.
“Sure. You’re just looking for any excuse not to do anything.” He appeared with her jar filled up. “Let me tell you, honey, life is only going to get worse. I promise you. You’ve got a short time to make a difference.”
She took the sugar from him, frowning. “What about you? When are you going to stop doing … what you do?”
Staring down at the ground, she wished the ground would open up and swallow her. Not once in the last year she’d known Jake had she brought up his drug use. He smiled at her.
“I’m a lost cause, baby.”
His eyes changed, and he looked sad. What was he thinking about?
“Nothing is lost until it’s completely gone. My family, wishing they were back here with me is a lost cause. They’re dead, and they’re never coming back. You’re still alive, Jake. You can make a difference.”
He reached out, touching her face. “That’s what I like about you, Fiona. After everything you’ve been dealt, you’re still so fucking sweet, seeing the best in everything.” Jake dropped his ha
“What are you saying?” she asked.
“Nothing, honey. You better get out of here.”
He took her arm and led her toward the door. Something turned in the pit of her stomach. She didn’t know how she knew, only that her gut was telling her that something bad was about to happen.
His front door was in sight. One moment it was closed, the next moment, it was slammed open. Jake only tensed. He didn’t yell or shout. Glancing up at him, she saw he wasn’t surprised to see a man standing in the doorway.
Jerking her gaze toward the man, she saw the scar first. A long uneven scar ran across his cheek as if he’d gotten it while he’d been jumping up and down. The mark was uneven and glided down to his neck. Whoever stitched it hadn’t cared if they did a good or bad job of the scar.
“You know why I’m here,” the man said, stepping across the threshold. He closed the door behind him, coming forward into the room. Any chance of anyone finding them was slim to none. He filled the doorway, and even from the short distance, he made her feel small.
“Fiona isn’t part of this. Leave her alone and let her leave.”
“How do I know that? She’s carrying a small jar. Surely she’s part of something. Haven’t you gotten her hooked yet, Jake? Not getting her to work for you on the sidelines?”
Jake shook his head.
“What’s going on?” she asked, and then all words ceased as she saw the gun appear in the man’s hand. It was like he pulled it out of nowhere.
She couldn’t pull her eyes away from the gun. He’d not pointed it at anyone. Jake didn’t look surprised.
“Please, let her go.”
“You fucked up, Jake. You know there’s no way out of this, but maybe I can save the girl before you crush her fucking spirit.”
Jake gripped her arm tightly. She gasped, crying out.
He released her arm, and she took a step away from him.
“I don’t think so, sweetheart. Stay right where you are.”
The man shook his head. “No, I’m not letting her go.”
As if in slow motion he raised the gun, which had a silencer attached. Jake jerked and fell on the floor. Beside her blood and brains spattered his furniture. It was then she saw the large bag of white powder with the tiny bags. Jake had also packed a gun.
He’d been expecting this visit.
Frozen to the spot, she placed a hand over her mouth to try to stop herself from crying out. She was going to be sick. One jar of sugar and she’d seen her first murder.
Glancing up she saw Ryker heading toward her. Ryker, was that his real name?
Tensing, she took a step back, breathing in.
You’re going to die. You’ve just witnessed a murder. There’s no way you’re going to live.
He stepped closer, using the tip of the gun to move her hair off her face. Staring up into his eyes, she saw his dead eyes. They were blue, yet they were dead inside.
“What am I going to do with you?” he asked.
Tensing, she dropped the jar she’d been holding onto for dear life. Her whole body was shaking, and nothing she did could stop it.
“You’re a mousy little thing, aren’t you?”
Was this what murderers did? Taunt their prey?
“Are you going to kill me?” she asked, licking her lips.
He didn’t respond, but neither did he back away from her.
What was he waiting for?
Ryker stepped away to glance around the apartment. He pointed the gun at her.
Closing her eyes, she tried to block everything else out. First her parents were killed and now her friend. When was her life ever going to be normal? There was no one to blame for her parents whereas the man in front of her was responsible for killing Jake.
He pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number. She kept a good distance away from him.
Tensing up even further, she stared at him. What the hell was going to happen to her?
He closed his cell and glared up at her.
“Sorry about this.”
She didn’t get to ask him what was going on. Pain and darkness followed the rise of his arm.
He shouldn’t have taken her that was for fucking sure. Ryker Black glanced in his rearview mirror at the girl who was far too young and innocent to be mixed up with the likes of him. He was the devil, and she seemed so angelic it made his blackened and cold heart beat a little harder. When he had gone to that drug addict’s place, hired by a man even more dangerous than Ryker, shit had gotten real. Ryker might sell his skills to the right person for the right price, but taking a young woman with him because she had seen and heard far too much, was something he had never done.
The ring he wore on his pinky finger had nothing to do with fashion. A small needle could be extracted from it, and the tip of it covered in a concoction that could be used to make someone incapacitated. Ryker should have killed her, because what the fuck did he think he was going to do with her? He glanced at her once more in the mirror, watched her chest rise and fall twice, and then focused on the road again. Ryker had to be a stupid fucking fool, because right now he was heading out of town, deep into the mountains, and actually planned on keeping her at his home. What are you doing? He scrubbed a hand over his face, and the image of that girl in the backseat slammed into his head. The shithole she was living in would have made him assume she sold her ass, or maybe shot up heroin. But he had looked in her face, seen in her eyes that she was clean, and knew that the situation had just gotten more complicated. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He took the turn sharply, and couldn’t get the image of her curvy body right behind him, unconscious and looking so good, out of his head. He tightened his hands on the steering wheel and felt his anger slam into him over and over again. He wasn’t just angry because he was a stupid asshole for taking her and not just snuffing out her life, but because he wanted her.
He took the last turn, drove his truck up the steep incline, and went deeper into the mountains. He was about an hour out of the city, and he needed to get to his place since she’d be waking up soon. Tricks would also be calling him and checking in on the final word. Jake was dead, and soon his body would start to smell and alert others to his presence, well, unless the men he owed money to on the streets came knocking first. Jake might have wanted to protect the girl, but deep down he was a criminal, a drug dealer and addict, and had stolen from the man that Ryker worked for.
It was like a name in a child’s book, not meant to be associated with a woman living in that type of environment. Yeah, he knew she wasn’t involved, and had believed Jake when he said she was innocent of knowing anything, but it didn’t matter. Fiona had seen his face, had been staring at him pretty fucking hard, too. She was a risk that Ryker couldn’t afford to take in letting her walk away.
The cabin was small, intimate, and isolated. It was surrounded by mountains and trees, giving him the solace, stillness, and the peace he desperately needed at times. Ryker took liberties to make sure this property was protected. He had security cameras around the property, and it was far enough back from the main road and hidden behind trees that passersby couldn’t see it. In the line of work he did—hired to kill—he had to make sure his shit was taken care of, and everything was in place.
He drove his car into the garage, and the weight had the floor activating and lowering. His truck was taken down a level, and once it locked into place he pulled off the platform. The floor he had just been on went back up, sealing him in the underground basement of his home. It was a security measure he had built into the seemingly rustic and simple cabin. Extravagant maybe, but it was a security he needed. He pulled the vehicle to a parking spot, cut the engine, and just sat there for a moment. The dull lightin
He climbed out of the truck and walked back to the rear of the vehicle. After grabbing his black duffle that carried twenty different pieces of firearms, blades, and even some items that weren’t legal in the United States, he went to the backdoor, and opened it. Ryker stared at the young woman still unconscious, and let his gaze travel over her body. She was in clothes that were formfitting and that showed off her curves. She was the first woman in a long fucking time that actually made Ryker feel something other than the evil that lurked within him. He still didn’t know why he had taken her back to his place, or what he planned to do with her. As it was she’d be his prisoner, and how well would that go?
He put the strap of the duffel over his shoulder and reached out for her. She was curvy like a woman, and not all skin and bones, but she was tiny in comparison to him. He cradled her in his arms, and stared down at her face. Her dark hair was long and wavy, and even with her eyes closed he remembered the greyness of the color when she had stared at him with fear. Her chest was full, and her cleavage spilled out over the top in this position. His cock jerked forward, stirred as if the damn thing had a life of its own, and he had to hold in the groan that would have came forth from him. Yeah, she had a lot to fear from him, and Ryker wished he could take that away. But her not being afraid of him would be the stupidest reaction from her, because he was one deadly motherfucker.
He shut the door, and made his way to the stairs that would take him to the upper level. After he unlocked two doors, and bolted them back in place, he carried her to his bedroom. He had plenty of room so that he could have let her sleep in a separate bedroom, but he wanted her close, needed to make sure she didn’t try to run. Even if she didn’t somehow escape him before he figured out what he wanted to do with her, she wouldn’t get far. He knew these woods like the back of his hand, and they were miles away from anyone else. She’d get lost and then die out there before she got away from him.